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his journey through Africa articulates the process by 
which he heals himself of the tradition of the cross and 
proceeds to create his own story as an individual. 

The shapes and patterns of the African safari supply 

the guides, the companions, the topography, and the animals. 
Three native guides conduct separate segments of the safari's 
travels, segments which correspond to distinct phases in the 
narrator's growth. The first guide schools his American 
pupil in the wisdom of the body, the second in the lessons 
of the mind, and the third in the powers of the imagination. 
The combination of these three facets — the sensory, the 
intellectual, and the creative— is seen to produce a whole- 
ness that enables the narrator-as-artist to eventually write 
the account of his journey: Green Hills of Africa . 

The two American companions, the narrator's wife P.G.M. 
and his friend Karl, function as indicators of their hus- 
band and friend's progress under the guides. Each repre- 
sents a different part of the narrator's psyche, acting as 
an alter ego. The companions emerge into the foreground of 

the narrator, and recede when those values lessen. 

The native guides and the American companions move 
against the background of a landscape whose prevailing forms 
relate the narrator's story on an archetypal level. The 
most dominant topographical feature is the road the safari 

dch is equated w 
n mankind. The 

e inventive, forward- 

steps through a succession of archetypal matrical forms: 
the Rift Valley, the hunting blind, and the ground cloth 
tent. An overview reveals that these shapes constitute 
advances in man's relationship to the earth. From the pri- 
mordial chasm, to the quantitatively-shaped hollow, to the 
qualitatively-transformed cotton shelter, the earth proves 
responsive to man-as-maker. 

Just as the African earth dynamically structures the 
narrative with its shapes, so do the major animals of the 
safari with the patterns of their horns. For example, the 
narrator hunts the more elemental rhinoceros, whose "horn" 
is merely a fleshy extension of its nose, when he himself 
is embroiled in the functionings of the body. The series 
of antelope encountered in the course of the safari — tha 
:yx, water buck — play prologue to the 
ill the horned game, the kudu and the 
sable. In a closing examination, these two animals are 
considered as aesthetic phenomena. The pair together cli- 
max the narrator's imaginative vision. In the extraordin- 

the life process itself, the spiralling helix of the kudu 
evoking the evolutionary thrust of generation, the scimitar 

inevitable and 


accepts the challenge to shape his own form. 

It is along this crucial stretch o £ road that the 

a truck “moved slowly nearer . . . until, agonizing in a 
clank of loud irregular explosions, it passed close behind 
us to go on up the road." Later, as the hunting party 
return to camp in the narrator's car, their hunting spoiled 
by the vehicle's passage. 

firelight there was a short, bandy- 
legged man with a Tyroler hat, leather 
shorts, and an open shirt standing 
before an un-hooded engine. . . . (p. 6) 

The pattern traced out in the opening sequence by the narra- 
tor's car and the "agonizing” lorry enacts in miniature the 
larger change transpiring in the narrative. The first 
major topographical image in Greer. Hills , the road, serves 
as an indicator of human invention. Hence vehicles, as 
human inventions, travel forward upon the road to the degree 

hides are always present in Green Hills of Africa , even in 
the farthest reaches of the virgin land in Part IV (p. 225) . 
But though other cars and trucks of the motor safari merit 

short span of sandy tracks marks the only overlap of the 
journeys of the car and the lorry. The soundness of one 
vehicle and the debility of the other is laid out in the 

topography and chronology of the scene: in a finely choreo- 
graphed maneuver, the younger narrator (having advanced 
beyond the lorry) , must back up in order to reach the immo- 
bile vehicle of the older driver. 

In the dynamics of the road, movement signals growth 
while immobility indicates depletion, as enacted in their 
pas de deux, the overlapping with— and then the surpassing 
of the lorry by the narrator's car signals the disfunction 
of the values associated with the former vehicle and the 
emergence of new values concomitant with the latter. The 
identification of these values is established by the "pro- 
of the vehicles, their associations are accomplished by 
masterful employment of the tool of juxtaposition, as the 
hunting party crouches in the blind, the disabled lorry 

I put my hand to my mouth and motioned 

The juxtaposition of the guide's speech with the traffic 

the road provides the vital mechanism of this scene, 
fruitful is the indefinite reference of the pronoun ii 
guide’s speech. This linguistic leeway enables "It" ! 
function in a multiplicity of ways. The most obvious 
ferent for "It" is the kudu hunting, which the truck I 
just spoiled. But the careful coinciding of the guide 
outburst with the passage of the vehicle also allows " 
to refer to the truck itself. The lorry is certainly 

the lorry ends its agonizing journey beside the 
vehicle fails not because its body gives out bv 

its engine — its working center — is no longer valid. "Do 
you think it could be the timer? It sounded as though it 
might be a timing knock when you went past us,” the narrator 
volunteers. Given the temporal context of the road, this 
diagnosis of problems with time and change pinpoints exact- 
ly the ailment of the lorry. A means of forward motion 
that once was operable is not now, emitting what its driver, 
the European Kandisky, calls "that noise of death inside. " 

The values associated with the vehicle are thus labeled 
anachronistic. Among all the vehicles on the safari, the 
truck Kandisky drives is specified as a "lorry,” one of the 
two Briticisms prevalent in the narrative and a term reserved 
in the main for this particular vehicle. This European 

identity is reinforced by the 

loyalties of the lorry 'i 

To the European identity is added a Christian one as well, 
by the allusion of both the words and the posture of the 
guide to the dying Christ on the cross ('"It is finished,' 

lorry driver of "It is finished" ("That lorry is finished”) 
seals the identification with the crucifix. Thus, "It” 
(European civilisation) , "It” (the religion that fueled 
that civilization) — all the "It"s associated with the truck 
are finished. The vehicle comes to rest off the road, its 
weight to be hauled away, corpse-like, by a truck from the 

The eclipse of the lorry by the car depicts the tran- 
sition from a Christian to a secular world. Again, the 
indefinite reference in the guide's speech provides the 
means for such a conclusion. Lacking a stated reference, 
the pronoun "It” may also be self-reflexive, referring to 
the allusion itself the guide presents, put so, the self- 
reflexive pronoun turns the guide's pronouncement against 
itself. In this case, the "It" of "It is finished" is the 
crucifixion itself— now "It" is finished. The Christian 

other-worldly one, is dead. The transcendental thrust of 
Christianity is absolutely and categorically denied by the 

blind where the narrative discovers him, the narrator has 

narrative. One occa- 

Wanderobos prove rather scarce in the 
sionally wanders through the green hills, leaving traces of 

appear to assist the safari. However, the initial sparce- 
ness of specific Wanderobos invites a broadening of the 
tribal term to include all who have wandered in the earth 
and brought their wonder to bear upon it. The hollow by the 
side of the road functions as a stage in the human flowering 
of the road. Its dimensions mark the frontiers reached by 
the wanderer /wonderers who preceded the narrator, the fron- 
tiers of the world from which Green Hills of Africa unfolds. 

This unfolding begins with the very first word of 
Chapter One. By beginning with the word “We," and thereby 
delaying a strict identification of the referent of the 
plural pronoun, the text reaches out and incorporates the 
reader into its plurality, into its world. The inclusive 
nature of the “We" places the reader most assuredly within 
a human structure—within the hollow of the narrator/hunter, 
within the first person narrative of the narrator/artist. 

old values are sloughed off and new ones assumed, its 
confines provide the battleground for two processes at work 
an the narrative, the decline of the "orthodox" world view 
and the initial stirrings of the "heterodox." The blind 
marks the conjunction of the two processes, its critical 

revealed by the physical appearance of the blind, described 
as "a hollow half full of ashes and dust." In depicting 
the withering away of Christianity, Biblical allusions in 
this passage appropriately deal only with death, e.g., the 
corpse of the crucifixion and the "ashes and dust” ("ashes 
to ashes, dust to dust") that partially fill the cavity. 
Most importantly, unlike the artifacts the natives carry 
upon the road, the form the narrator occupies no longer 
functions: no game is ever bagged from the blind. Vet, as 
its description implies, the blind is both a tomb and a 
womb. Surmounted by a human cross and half filled with 
decayed matter, it certainly appears a grave. But at the 
same time the curve of its shape suggests a matrix, and its 
other half is filled with a white hunter who, "sitting, 
leaning back, knees high, head . . . low," assumes the posi- 
tion of a fetus. The cocoon-like hollow, dug from dust 
and covered with "dried leaves and thin branches," presents 
to the undiscerning eye an image of death. 3ut within that 
husk dwells the miraculous kernel of change, a wanderer/won- 
derer curled like an unborn child and gifted with the same 
impulse to move and grow. 

The View from the Cross: Xandisky the European 

As the hunters leave the blind empty-handed and head 
back toward their camp, they pass in the light of a road- 
side fire a "short, bandy-legged man with a Tyroler hat. 

many organiza- 

s life expresses itself only through the 
ons in which he has entrenched himself. 

Kandisky volunteered for the German army and served under 
Von Lettdw's command. Now, years later, he continues to 
display the same allegiances that motivated that act. For 
this veteran, more than property perished in that conflict! 
the very ideals that generated it, the abstractions of 
"patriot" and “duty," no longer operate in the post-war 
world. When Kandisky seeks indemnification for the African 
plantation he lost and volunteers those abstractions as his 
reasons for fighting, he is told, "That is very beautiful. 

hold us responsible for you 
t plantation is emblematic o 

that ceased to exist at the end of World War I. Dispossess- 
ed of land and values, he now wanders the hills of Africa. 
One vestige of Kandisky 's military service survives in 

his concern with titles. He painstakingly addresses the 
party's white hunter as "Colonel" Phillips until Pop cor- 

titles as nicknames." The hunters have adapted a public 
formality to a private, affectionate use: Kandisky, however, 

predilection for titles reveals a pervasive bias in the 
former soidier. The European is almost totally verbal in 
his relationship to the world. As one would expect of a 

man who offered his life for abstractions, Kandisky is the 
quintessential roan of words. The European looks upon people 
only as functionaries of the structures he maintains, a 
perspective which is formalized in the language he uses. 
Avoiding any expression of a private self, he never allows 

the familiarity that goes with first names or nicknames, 
but rather perpetuates the status quo by using titles or 
the more reserved family names. 3y his use of words Kandisky 
also preserves another structure, the sisal shamba, owned 
by an East Indian for whom the European — now a manager- 

recruits a native workforce, when the narrator first sights 
Kandisky in the firelight, the organizer stands "in a crowd 
of natives. ■ That image which distinguishes between "manag- 
er and "crowd" sums up Kandisky' s world outlook. Par from 
acknowledging individuals, he perceives the native Africans 
only as a crowd to be organized, as primitives to be valued 
only as "my cook" or "the boy." One cannot imagine such a 
man enjoying a relationship like that the narrator shares 

extent to which the outer man overshadows the inner is 
revealed within that most personal of structures, the fami- 
ly that waits for Kandisky at the sisal shamba. The only 
male in a household of three, he does r.ot particularize the 
Kandisky women. The proprietary ”my wife" and "my daughter" 


vehicle (' 
remained of my shar 
lorry" ) , Kandisky : 
by an overwhelming 

lorry is finished. . 

; chiefly distinguished in Chapter 0 
ense of loss . The vehicle upon whi 

Kandisky enters 

of change, Kandisky i 
shore up against that 

loss. Unable ti 

self the shards of the past, trying to recreate the Old 

begins with small details of food and reading matter and 
ends with an all-encompassing world view. For instance, the 
day after the narrator passes Kandisky 's fire, the Austrian 
announces, "Tonight we will have a special dish of Viennese 
dessert. My cook has learned to make it very well.” Such 
an offer conjures up the sight of an African more familiar 
with reedbuck tripe and kudu liver piling layer upon layer 
of an over-delicate torte! The offering of neglible nutri- 
tional value pales against the plentiful red meat at the 

This attitude of determined indifference to the land 
before him leads Kandisky to seek not only bodily but 
intellectual nourishment from distant European sources. When 
Kandisky first meets the narrator by the fire, he recognizes 

him as "the dichter " of Querschnitt f 
explains: "The Querschnitt was a German magazine I had 
written [for] . . . years before I could sell anything in 
America" ) . Par away in the heart of Africa, Kandisky longs 
for people he knows only through words, "the great old 
Querschnitt group” of wr 

e wished to see." The narrator— having s 
not wish to destroy anything this man ha 

and so I did not go into those brilliant people in detail." 
Prom their very first encounter on the road, the dichotomy 
between word and vision, between what Kandisky believes from 
reading to be true and what the narrator knows empirically 

Kandisky in effect never sees Africa. Just as he pre- 
denies the living processes of the present. The very first 
word the European utters in Green Hills of Africa is “No," 
and negation hallmarks each of his responses thereafter. 

He says "no" to the natives, preferring to catalogue the 
quaint dances and songs ("[l)t is always interesting. The 
natives and the language. I have many books of notes on 
them") rather than learn from their indigenous knowledge 

driving the proffer to exclaim, "Do 
change your ideas?"; and "no" to th 

the crucified Christ stands up in order to do so, towering 
over his earth-covered companions. The juxtaposition of the 

European driver's Christian heritage, the tradition which 
determines his way of looking at life. His point of view — 
the view from the cross — is literally and philosophically 

Christian God who resides r 
beyond the reach of change. 


Names and titles — verbal confirmation of one's place 
in an ordered universe — are essential to Kandisky 's world. 
The same is not true for the narrator. His public identity 
as "Hemingway" arises for the first and only time in conver- 
sation with Kandisky in Chapter One: "Hemingway is a name X 
have heard. Where? where have I heard it? oh, yes. The 
dichter . " Kandisky ' s response to the narrator is to label 

concrete individual before him, but rather a preconceived 

kudu." it is no surprise that Kandisky 's characteristic 
o explore the imagination of this artist 
d of the longest conversation in the 

entirety of the narrative (pp. 17-28) , Kandisky is no closer 
to making contact with that talent than he was at their 
firelit meeting on the road. 

After the episode with Kandisky in Chapter one, the 
narrator returns to namelessness for the rest of the safari. 
As Kandisky' s verbal impasse underscores. Green Hills is not 

7 of a known cuantitv such 
significance of the absence 
essence of physical descrip- 

as "European organization . " 
of names is strengthened by 
tion of the narrator in the text. He has been ill 
amoebic dysentary (p. 283); he has scars (p. 53). 
all the attention paid to the rest of the body, it; 
being and functioning, the narrator is as faceless 
nameless. Such an absence forces the reader to lot 

view. The achievement of that point of view is a central 
victory of Green Hills of Africa . From the moment the 
guide in the blind intones, "It is finished," the reader 
inhabits a relativistic world. The validity of any omnis- 
cient perspective concomitant with a Christian universe 
collapses, to be replaced by that of the individual. The 

nation man but of the "I" who tells the story of the journey 
thereafter, when the artist adopts the view from the blind 
over the view from the cross, the heterodox over the ortho- 


untapped possibilities. 

The transition from an orthodox t 
view is reflected in an important visual element of 
narrative, the twenty-nine illustrations (fourteen o 
two-page spreads) that punctuate the text. Just as 
is no set piece of description about 
is no sketched one. The drawings a: 
careful scrutiny they bring to all their subjects, whethe 
animal, native, or hunter: the ibis (pp. 88-9, 135) and 
hyena (p. 199) , Droopy (p. ii) and the old man of Part IV 
(p. 245) , Pop and P.O.M. at Lake Manyara (pp. 124-5) . Bu 
the sketches are particularly valuable in their treatment 
the narrator. There exist no portraits, no closeups 
that probe for clues to his "character. ■ Rather than exi: 
ing as a completed essence before the narrative takes plai 
| mes during the unfolding of it. 3y his 
the phenomenon of Africa, he creates him- 
self. Given this emphasis on self-realization, the draw- 
ings reveal much concerning the narrator's valuation of 
certain human attributes. For example, the human head, a: 
the seat of the intelligence, is not isolated from or cel< 
brated apart from the body. Instead, the drawings present 
whole-body silhouettes at a distance- 

hills thus presented do 

that of Xandisky, but a world with which the narrator is 
very much at one. The narrator's relationship to his world, 
the key relationship in the narrative, resides in the part 
of speech indicating relation, the preposition. The first 

sitting in the blind that Wanderobo hunters had built" ) . 
The relationship laid out in that word resonates through 
the sweep of the story, from the first preposition to the 

mines the topographical imagery of the African landscapes 
the narrator squats in the blind , moves in the human traffic 

view — that of a first person narrator , who is an active 
protagonist . whose main activity is writing — that the narra- 
tor creates Green Hills of Africa , the imaginative answer 
to Xandisky's intellectual "books of notes." 

From style to imagery, the first paragraphs identify 

tive opens in medias res ; the progressive first verb, "were 
sitting," indicates continuous action; and the imagery 
augments such action: into the world of the narrator comes 
a truck passing along the road he waits beside. The aptness 

healing — Droopy, M'CoIa, and 
present in their approaches t 

life a pattern of health. 

tnder the mentorship o 
lessons into his lif< 

3y placing himsel 
incorporating the 
survives illness 

opening scene, "It is finished." Among 
the indefinite pronoun "it" refers to ti 
subject of the crucifixion itself, wit! 
of the crucifixion, the mortification ol 
fied therein also ends. The narrator is 
this Christian tradition, as reflected i 
condition of his own body. In order to 
defunct tradition 

sounded in the 

i diminishment 

inheritor of 

individual and cultural 

Ives guiding the 

which they guide 
>ad follow those 

healing must be enacted, 
tor’s recuperation is that none oi 
safari overlap in their authority, 
places great emphasis 

of Droopy, from whom he learns the wisdom of the body. 
This youngest and most elemental of the guides leads tl 
narrator in the flashback of Part II from the reedbuck 
of Chapter Three to the Rift Valley of Chapter Six. M 
the resurgence of sensory health, the 
under the sway of the older guide M’Cola, 

prominence in chapter si*. M'Coia presents t 
with an alternative to the tyrannical intellect rampant in 
Kandisky. He offers a mental outlook oriented not to immu 
table truths, but to empirical observation of the world’s 
events. And, finally, the narrator travels in Chapter 
Twelve with a guide at his side known only by his tribal 
name, a Nanderobo. 

enters on the last scheduled day 

guide's involvement (he 
of the safari) and the 

prophetic nature of that entrance (he bears the long-awaited 

suggest that the Wanderobo functions less as a personality 
and more as the qualities suggested by his name. The first 

place. To this story of the road the homonymic pun, "to 
wonder," contributes additional dimensions. The narrator 
brings to bear upon his environment that spirit of inquiry 
and observation raised by one meaning of the pun, "to 
speculate." This curiosity, this passion to see marks the 
adventure of the i/eye newly issued from the Uanderobo 
shelter. And finally the pun functions within another of 
its definitions, "to feel wonder." With the return of 
physical health and mental perspective, the creative facul- 
ty also wells up within the narrator, infusing the sights 
of Africa with a narrative cohesion. At the close of his 
African journey, the narrator has achieved an inward whole- 
ness that will soon produce the vision that is Green Hills 

'Ernest Hemingway, ■ 

Charles Scribner 1 

Africa (New York: 

H Further citations 

Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg, The Nature of 
Narrative (London: Oxford University Press'^ 1966} , 98 . 

Carlos Baker, "Introduction: Citizen of the World," 
in Hemingway and Ilis critics , ed. Carlos Baker (New York: 

The imagery of the African safari provides the mecha- 

and outer health. One component of that mechanism, the 
native guides, enter and pass from the ranks of the hunting 
party. However, another component, the companions of the 
safari, are constants in a world of change, there at the 
beginning of the African adventure and there at the end. 
Consequently, they perform a different service in chronicling 

e narrative indicate th 
rhino are sighted from the first green hii 
Is of Africa {''we . . . climbed, sweating, 

small, steep hill on the right to sit there with our backs 
against the hilltop and glass the . . . green, pleasant 
country") , and their entrance is described strictly within 
the language of a vision. Prohibited by distance and rough 
terrain from physical contact, permitted access only by 
“the glasses” that are so carefully mentioned in three of 

the game only as an image, only aesthetically. So, in 
this, the maiden hunt of the longest section of the book, 
a hunt described as "fine" even though no game is taken, 
the narrator sits atop the first green hill of his story 
and conceives a vision that ripples outward to touch the 

Details of the four rhino glimpsed from the hill 

the rhino hunt, inner and outer realities work together; 
the rhino objectifies outwardly the inner state of its 
pursuers . The dynamics of the narrative are generated by 
a finely-honed correspondence between the men and the 
animals they pursues the characteristics and behavior 
of the sought-after illuminate subtly yet profoundly the 
desires and drives of the seekers. The correspondence 

mirrors the pioneering white hunter Poj 

derives from conflict between two hunti 

be observed fighting, and fighting bet 

beasts, the "two [rhino] that fought, 

rator and Karl squarely within the con- 
rial battle between two dominant males 
The rhinoceros emerges as vital f. 

flashing vividly before t: 

n themselves 


in the procession of natives along tt 
artifacts play an integral role in tfc 
rhino hunt. The impulse that brings 
from his hillside seat to the side of 
him as closely with the binoculars by 

emphasis on the instrument of sight g 

» equal import 

to focus, to distinguish the individual from the herd, 
the eye of the creator undergoes substantial refinement. 

scrutiny of the rhino concerns the animal ' s physical 
condition; its hide is "scarred with a badly healed horn 
wound that the birds had pecked at." Besides identifying 

perfect specimen, but rather as a participant in and 
veteran of the conflicts of the world. In addition to 
rejecting an other-worldly standard of perfection, the 
physical state of the rhino bears witness to the animal's 
mortality. Once the Christian promise of immortality dies, 
the question for the existential wanderer/wonderer 
becomes how to live in and with the consequences of the 
world. That this is the lesson on which the narrator 
is embarked is substantiated by his own likeness to the 

description ii 

Africa , little of it deals with the narrator. The only 
item he relates about himself is that he, like the rhino. 

irregular and' sprawling, others simply 
puffy welts. I had one on my forehead 

if I had bumped my head. . . .(p. 53) 

buffeted by experience. In a major function the animals 
of Africa perform in Green Hills , the rhinoceros stands 
as a stage in the growth of its pursuer. Scarred, the 
narrator incorporates the conditions of twentieth 
century, post-Christian life; wounded, he must now learn 
the lessons of the body that will result in healing. This 
sensory orientation is indicated by his interaction with 

the rhino, valuing not just the prise of the head and 

a wholeness of body, 
but to flourish. 

' the vital oart movement olays in the hunt 
dynamic encounter, initially an inner one 
responds to the challenge of the "muddy r 

id, "this dead, head-severed” rhino — Karl 

Already skinned, his rhino hangs emptied of all traces 
of body. Its quantitative considerations of "size," 
"bulk," and "inches" merit acclaim in the public realm, 

tatively the prize is as hollow as its skin. Lacking 
all individuating characteristics (no ticks, moss, or 
scars here) , the monumental head represents t 

of the narrator's private and personal achievement. 

The deadness that typifies Xarl's approach to the 

description of his rhinoceros. Both figures record the 
diminution of the rhino's most salient feature, its red 

that flashed so vividly before the narrator's eye from 
the hilltop has in this specimen assumed the hue of sorrow. 
In fact, the weeping head of "this huge, tear-eyed marvel 
of a rhino," framed by a shroud of hide, resembles nothing 
so much as a tragic mask. The second simile documents 

s white where it was cut as freshly sliced 
The figure performs a double function. A foi 
t ironically describes a 

Karl's incapacity to utilize 

and missed, and why didn't Y 
letters, what did the guide 

did, but he said nothing of 
desperately. (p^ 62 J 
s paragraph delineating Karl's thoughts 

all that. 

essentially o 

just concluded stands out in 

an interior monologue, the only one of 
e book. By its structure, that of an 
e-sentence paragraph, the monologue traces 
f a "mind . . . revolving." 
of aourse, constitute as necessary a part 
s equipment as vehicles and tents and, 
elements, contribute to the imagistic 

in the journey through Africa, 

e double-barreled s 


Springfield r 
in crucial turning points of t 
owever, the gun suggested in K 
was bitterly revolving eight b 
o introduce firearm imagery. 

t suggested 

weapon, the revolver, draws attention to itself and to 
Karl because, unlike the larger shotgun and rifle, it 
is not a standard hunting instrument. As a metaphor this 


and repetitive. Karl's meditation upon his days in the 
hills follows precisely this pattern, picking up a detail 
(the "Swahili name he could not then remember"), worrying 
with it ("god-damn it where were they " ) . and returning 
to it again ("what did the guide say kongoni for that 
time, they did, he knew they did"), with no progress made 
or resolution reached through the mind's ruminations. 

("Whatever you say," "Whatever you say") reinforce the 
mental stalemate. 

The obsession with words which prevails in the 
monologue typifies Karl's sojourn in Africa: he misses 

his quarry because he misunderstands a name ; he bemoans 
a lack of companionship because there is no one to talk 
to (alone, among forty M'Bulus!); he is haunted by 
formulated tenets he must live up to; and he languishes, 
in the heart of Africa, from a lack of letters from home. 
His preference for words hinders a full experiencing of 
the wonder of the continent; the few sensory references 
in the monologue relate only hardships suffered in its 

unspoken soliloquy. 

e soliloquy 

In addition to identifying h 
also suggests Karl's state of mind; the utterance of a 
lone speaker, the soliloquy expresses the estrangement 
resulting from Karl's verbal obsession. No one on the 
safari is more determinedly alone than Karl, deprived of 
wife, job, and home, aloof from the continent he traverses 
and the people he meets, obsessed with only one facet of 
a multi-faceted event. When a human mind can be reduced 
to the image of a revolver, 

damning assertion: the mind, or more precisely that 

intellectual bent of mind which prevails in Karl, fa 
as a weapon, as a means of viable action within the 
The impotence of such a mind is carried through in t 
image of the revolver, its ammunition onlv blanks, i 
action onlv mechanical. 

familiar, that is because they have been encountered 
before in the narrative. Karl is the intellectual great- 
grandson of "Emerson, Hawthorne, Whittier, and Company," 
the Americans of whom the narrator stated in Part I, "You 
[would not] gather that they had bodies. They had minds, 
yes. Nice, dry, • clean minds." And he is the first cousin 
of the European intellectual to whom the narrator made this 
on— Kandisky. Parallels between the European 

and this American abound. The personal s 
man includes a present lack of wife, job, and home; Karl's 
name mimics Kandisky's in its Germanic spelling; and both 
men indulge in aesthetic forms concomitant with verbal 
man, conversation in Kandisky's case and the unspoken 
soliloquy in Karl's. The extent and import of the link 
between these two men becomes even clearer in the chronology 
of Green Hills . One recalls that Part II, "Pursuit Re- 
membered, " is told as a flashback. Therefore Karl's foray 
into the hills (of which we see only the return) and 
Kandisky's journey along the road (of which we see only 
the end) coincide. The narrative concerns itself with 
Karl and his story when the Western m 
Kandisky holds sway. 

Karl, of all the hunting party, most resembles the 
narrator in age, sex, and skill, and the groundwork for 
his function as an alter ego is laid out early in the 
narrator's observation of the two male rhinos locked in 
territorial combat upon the green hill. The outcome o* 
the battle between the verbal values Karl espouses and 
the visual ones the narrator is learning rides with 
tnese respective champions; the American soul wrestles 
with itself as its two sons engage in a contest of such 
consequence that the very earth is riven between them. 

The quest for dominance aooears most blatantly in 
the politics of the hunt when the two hunters scrupulously 

li“IIE%Z ; r 

of being the intellect — which has tyrannized others. Its 
consequent diminishment provides a space for the rediscovery 
and burgeoning of the body that occupies Part II. Karl 
wanes because he is trapped within his own mental revolutions, 
unable to reach outside them for physical or emotional 
nourishment. Pop confirms this starvation with another 
food image, "I think he's off his feed a little." In the 
end, a mind revolving is a mind consuming itself. 

The final passage of Chapter Nine documents Karl's 
inability to advance upon the road. The closing scene 
carefully recapitulates the opening scene of the narrative 
its recurring elements inviting comparison. Karl describes 

keep my head down and then when I looked U| 
right beside us." The situation is the sat 

e all-inclusive 

presides at 

i he provides no limb 
i he proffers a verba 
inadequate as a tool 

e fetal position, 
e soliloquy, that 
is incompleteness 

dissociates itself from K, 
'," motioning back the 

an exclusive 
ad. Significantly, the gesture of the 

reproduces exactly the movement with which the narrator 
repudiates the black guide associated with Christianity 
and European civilization in Chapter One ("It is finished/ 
he said. I put my hand to my mouth and motioned him down") . 
With this movement the "we" aligns itself with the 

waxing describes 

1 recorded in Part XI, s 
s flourishing of the 
explicitly designates the period of 
time of Droopy" (p. 46) . Chapter T 
American hunter carefully perusing 
African guide: 

Droopy was^a real savage with lids to 

a fine hunter and a beautiful tracker. 

cloth, knotted over one^shoulder, 
and a fez that some hunter had given 
him.^He always carried a spear. 

One feature attracting the narrator's visual attention in 
among the principal natives of the safari. The knotted 

westward migration upon the : 
for a greasy cloth knotted O' 
bows and sealed auivers of a: 

e shoulder, and carried 
Others carried spears." 

Droopy's costume places him squarely among these bearers 
of artifacts and culture; it is as if he has stepped out 
of the procession to walk with the new hunter on the road 
for a time. In addition to dress, another of the guide’s 
traits attracts the narrator; the native is "about thirty- 
five, I should think.” The interjection of the narrative 
first person into this particular detail indicates its 

personal pronoun, underscores the affinity between the 
time of Droopy portends a propitious time for the 

In Part II Droopy presides at the initial sighting 
and subsequent downing of the narrator's rhinoceros: 
"[M'Cola] and I [were] huntinc touether and Droooy in 

with its commanding features of physical size and bulk, 
as a guide to the body. Droopy's own body initiates 

face and physique; . 
"handsome ones besii 

the description of ] 

e possesses a naturally a 
addition, he boasts tribal scars. 

" keynote Droopy 1 
being applied to him by men 
italicized at times (p. €4) 

appearance o: 

ius, as confirmed by 

ind by the verbal approba- 

in the hunt people respond 

him first and foremost 
e unique character of his beauty indicates hi; 

he narrator. Droopy's patterned 

evidences a 

n explicit recognition and glorification 
its image, nature enhanced at the hands 

guiding the narrator/hunter through the country c 
and the narrator/artist through the terrain of at 
is vital to the workings of 


hunting maxes good art. During the rhino hunt, the 
narrator learns from Droopy that art and action are one 
and the same, booking beautiful, functioning beautifully, 
the African completely integrates the two. He admits no 


his occupation, his art , as "a fine hunter and a 

physical prowess, his intimacy 
b all his trained eye to the 

r buffalo droppings in the rocks, to 
survival— the tracker must find the 

pattern in the earth . 

A patterned being in a world of pattern. Droopy inhabits 

narrator reaeives a major lesson in the art of the body from 
Droopy when he shoots a reedbuck in Chapter Three. Delineat- 
ing the roles of novice and teacher, the passage is phrased 
as a lesson. The only animal taken in that chapter, the 
buck appears when Droopy and the narrator hunt alone. 

After succeeding in his wish "to make a shot to impress 
Droopy, " the narrator displays his skill with the reedbuck, 
limited chiefly to dissection: 

with the little knife, still showing 
off to Droopy, and emptying him 
the gall, and laying the liver on a 
hummock of grass, put the kidneys 
beside it. (p. 54} 

After viewing this demonstration. Droopy then takes his 
turn, transforming the carcass from mere 

cannot be overlooked. To be legal meat, the body of the buck 
must be stuck immediately (p. 157) . Therefore, the skill 

heart, his fingers against the body, determines the food 
value of the kill. With like skill must the narrator/artist 
press the pen against the paper, his imagination against 
the matter of his world, to shape the living prose. 

The killing of the reedbuok occasions an immediate exer- 
cise of style as the pupil applies in his narrative the values 
Droopy has championed and he himself has assimilated. 

These values are evidenced nowhere more powerfully than in 
the conversation that brings the reedbuok chapter to an end. 
The nighttime setting parallels in its makeup the one the 
narrator has shared with Droopy during the day: a couple 

as the narrator has been in the country with his guide) , 
sharing the conflicts of their lives (in this case the 
jealous rivalries of the Parisian literati) . 

But isn't Mr. J. p. wonderful? Really?" 
Ye3. He's wonderful.” 

“Without his 

Since the portion of the conversation immediately 
preceding this exchange has divulged how another author 
learned to write conversation by imitating the narrator, 
the quoted lines become a virtuoso display in self-aware 
style. No excess description impedes the functioning 
of the speech; whatever physical and psychological 
action transpires in the scene occurs within the words 
themselves. The narrative does not dwell often upon 
what might be called domestic scenes. In this one of 
the few times it does, it lingers upon the couple alone, 
upon these two who have sloughed off "all those people." 
Having repudiated the Parisian literati, and deserted for 
the evening their fellow travelers, the narrator and P.O.M. 
withdraw from the world of society into the world of marriage. 
The physical space of that world is defined by the walls of 
the tent that shelters them in the sleeping camp; the linguis- 
tic 6pace of that world is defined by the pronoun "we . " 

In the description of Droopy at the beginning of 
Chapter Three the personal pronoun rendered in language 
the personal bond between the subject of that description 
and the I/eye who described him. So in the conversation 

shared by the t 

”we” as they muse about the life they share, acknowledging 
verbally the union in which they are partners. And union— 

tically, psychologically, and sexually. 

proved poor in many ways. He, like his friend, has had 
the fortune to hunt with "good-looking savages" and the 
chance to learn from them all that phrase entails. But 
Karl learns nothing, failing to communicate even super- 
ficially with his guides. Significantly, Droopy never 
hunts with Bwana Kabor. But Karl is manifestly poorer 
in another way, as the conversation demonstrates. He 

With these words — spoken and unspoken — the conversation 

follows their utterance, but given the intensifying 
intimacy of the passage, the break in the text points 
toward husband and wife making love. Chaman Nahal has 
pointed out the service of adverbs in implying sexual 
intercourse in The Sun Also Rises . 3 In Green Hills rathe** 
than taking the form of an adverbial interruption within 
one line or between two lines as in Mahal's examples, the 
sexually-suggestive break assumes the shape of the blank 

growing importance of the image within the narrative, 

the narrative passes from the verbal virtuosity which 
sets the action into the visual one which fulfills it. 

The narrator discusses sex outright a few oaqes 

occasion in the narrative (p. 249) , but the closing scene 
of Chapter Three marks the only instance to hint at his 
active engagement. The appropriateness of such a scene 

that the Part of the book most concerned with the body 
should include its conjugal celebration, that a chapter 
whose action is sparked by an eye/body relationship (the 
narrator looking at Droopy) should climax in the most 

intimate of such relationships. And, given this generating 

be realized visually: in that space upon the page after 

Chapter Three ends and before chapter Four begins, it is 
as if the eye closes as the "1“ withdraws into the intimacy 
of "we." Only the tent which witnesses first an exchange 
of words between the present wife and the lucky husband 
witnesses then an exchange of hearts and bodies, deep in 
the rich African night. 

Droopy's Country 

During the period designated as " ti 

among themselves as "Droopy's country." 

valley or range of hills, a man can huni 
usage in the hunting vocabulary allows ( 

safari, only 

A "country" has 

Throughout the 
political sense 

African country in th* 

"country" takes on a role as psychic space, as an arena 
of expertise within which a man may act. with this 
emphasis the naturalistic is valued over the political, 
the achievement of man as individual over man in groups 
"Droopy's country" designates that perfect conjunction 

A "canyon [that] ran down to the Sift Valley, seeming 

the rift," constitutes Droopy's arena of action. As would 
be expected in the case of the native who has acted as 
a guide to the body, Droopy's country abounds in physical 
proliferation, from the lushness of its vegetation {"the 
trees were heavy and tall and the floor of the canyon, 
that from above had been a narrow gasb, opened to a forest- 
banked stream") , to the superabundance of game. In their 
search for water buffalo the hunting party are confronted 
at almost every turn with prize rhino specimen, which in 
every case turn out to be cows accompanied bv one, if not 
two, calves. The reproductive activity attested to by this 
display pervades not only plants and animals in Droopy's 
country, but men as well. 

Throughout his tutelage to Drooov, the narrator has 
been undergoing a regeneration, of which his sojourn in 
the canyon marks only an intensification, prior to the 
time of the narrative the American hunter had been ill. 

The regeneration of this American coincides with the 
degeneration of the other American hunter on the safari. 

. . . had that pleasant feeling of 

without feeling stuffy. Each day 
sittino at the fire. . . 4p.%5) 

his friend Karl. As suggested by the image of the moon 
in the rhino hunt, Karl is waning while the narrator 
waxes. One way the theme of physical waxing presents 
itself is in the narrator's “great appetite." The acts 
of eating and drinking afford much pleasure, be the 
nourishment a "lunch of cold sliced tenderloin, bread, 
and mustard, and a can of plums," or the beer that "was 
still cool from the night and opened by the tin opener 
. . . creamed into three cups, thick-foamed, full-bodied.” 
As is borne out by the descriptions of the lunch and beer, 
great care is taken to set forth in detail the concrete 
things of the world, the bounty of the green hills that 
sustains the body. Furthermore, the narrator's appetite 

world itself. Appropriately, a verb of appetite describes 
the narrator's desire for the country in which he finds 
himself: “Sew, being in Africa, I was hungry for more 

What the narrator hungers after, and what Droopy 
teaches him to find, is "now"— through the appetites 
of, the immediate demands of, the now of the body. Karl, 

"then”; the compulsion of his intellect to remember a 
life across the Atlantic never permits his senses to 
experience the "now" of Africa. Revealingly, Karl does 
not enter Droopy 's country, does not enter the world of 

journey o 

country . 

of his own country, onward to where the canyon meets the Rift 
Valley — and then simply vanishes from the narrative, never 
to be seen or mentioned again. The intensity and the brevity 
of his walk among the hills suggest that this guide acts as 
a vital, but limited, agent for promoting growth in the nar- 
rator. That Droopy presides over a distinct phase in the 
.1 is borne out by the great capacities, 

t limitation is found in the superb body 

do not incorporate lateral vision, the direction associated 
with the fellow guide M'Cola. Droopy »s vision is that of the 
primal interaction of man with earth, not the more complex 
interaction of man with man. The drooping eyelids that beget 
his name act as natural blinders, restricting his field of 

blinders recalls a similar use of vision and places Droopy 
in the sequence of the safari; the narrator follows the path 

Just as Droopy's body suffices only so far, so does 
his utilization of the products of civilization. "The time 
of Droopy" acquires added significance when one considers 

wanderer/wonder ers on the road. Droopy most closely 
resembles the more primitive of the peoples, the nomadic 

boundaries optically: 

H'Cola gains in stature as 
"Droopy seemed to get much smaller.” This change in 
physical perspective reflects a change in imaginative 
perspective. Having absorbed all Droopy can teach him. 

That road leads from Droopy's country to the rock 
wall of Africa's Rift Valley. The narrator returns to 
the road after having been thwarted from entering the 
heart of the guide’s country by a tangle of reeds that 
defies the hunting party and forces Droopy to call off the 
hunt ("We both felt good because we had made Droopy do 
the calling-off and I was relieved as well") . Soon after, 
a fine buffalo bull breaks from the thicket and the nar- 

he country just beyond 
valley is. ' Droopy dJ 

1 , planning the 
d Pop question 

. 22) . The layout o 
e matter. Beyond th 

the land captures the crux of 
periphery of his vision, beyond 

the borders of his canyon — 

pupil walk together on the 
forward. He gives freely of 

s special gifts, preparin 
n antelope) . 

Then, his task complete. Droopy walks to the end of his 

After following Droopy to the end of his country, 
the narrator then proceeds beyond that country toward his 
rendezvous with Karl at the Rift Valley. Of all the 
lesser topographical features that contribute to the overall 
"shape of a country, ” none occupies the African landscape 
more imposingly than that gigantic cleft. The sentence 
which introduces Karl into Part XX designates the Rift 
Valley as his destination, and after taking his "dream 
rhino." Karl too directs his path that way. The name of 
the valley captures the mood of the safari at this point; 
Part II is rife with dissension. Bitter words pass between 
the narrator and P.O.M. during Cpp. 94-5) and after (p. 120) 
the buffalo hunt, and bickering preoccupies Karl and the 

violent enought to split a continent asunder. 

in Part II, illuminating the simultaneous processes of 
waxing and waning, regeneration and degeneration, now 
shines over the Rift Valley. And like that globe, the 
valley too contains within itself the flux of life and 
death. The Rift Valley reproduces on a panoramic scale 
the womb/tomb archetype of the blind. Displaying the 
bifurcation of the -hollow half full of ashes and dust,- 
one of its halves holds the dust of the plain, the other 
the waters of Lake Manyara. The world of the plain and 
the world of the lake constitute distinct entities, 
distinguished from one another most strikingly by their 
wildlife. On the plain the black and white aebra -gallop 

"the unbelievable cloud" of rose-pink flamingoes rises and 
settles at the sound of shots, as if attuned to a heart- 
beat (p. 133). 

As they possess different topography and wildlife, 
so the plain and the lake claim a different protagonist. 

path has lead him to this place. Karl circumvents Droopy's 
country, spurns the lessons of the senses. And in revenge 
his body, deprived of nourishment, takes on the hue of 
the plain: -old Karl looked a grayish, yellow white in 

the face . . . coming in like a death's head.” The half 

and go face down and are sitting, enjoying being completely 
wet finally, water cool on your behind, soaked with muddy 
water, . . . M'Cola delighted with the spill" (p. 133). 
Bathed in its amniotic fluids, for the narrator the Rift 
Valley proves a womb. 

Part II, "Pursuit Remembered," is as gigantic a chasm 
in the chronology of Green Hills of Africa as the Rift 
Valley is in the African landmass. Longer than all the 
other Parts put together (seven chapters, as opposed to 
two each in the other three Parts) , "Pursuit Remembered" 
t drop out of the present time between 
Ten. In fact, in the convoluted structure 
Part II speeds toward the moment when 
'he use of the flashback, the mention of 
t's title, and the emphatic repetition of 
in the text suggest that, among all its 
itself intensely with two 

is a flashback, 
Chapters Two anc 

of his memories, Karl 
that Droopy feels. Po 

is man the present entails the 
so carefully deposited behind 
in "then." But not only the present, the future too 
entails loss: still basking in the conquest of the 

incredible "dream rhino," Xarl's only thought on the 

safari's first day in the Rift Valley is that the following 
day "he was facing possible defeat by oryx. " In the world 
of movement the narrator is learning to negotiate. Karl 
wants everything to stand still, to be as changeless as 
his past. Hence he values the end, not the process — the 
trophy, not the hunt. 

to another "now." This immersion of himself in the fullness 
of the present renders Droopy a truly gifted lover of life. 
But as it frees him to the immediate in life, it also 

to leave the unwieldy reedbuck carcass to be picked up by 
porters later, Droopy simply cannot fathom his intent and 
insists on carrying the animal to camp then , although 
unfettered by Karl's past, Droopy cannot project ahead; 
his present has no future. This inability to look beyond 
the immediate consigns Droopy to the vicissitudes of a 
physical life, unaided by mental disciplines such as 
foresight. The sentence portraying the last act of the 
guide in the narrative frames his deficiency as an 
intellectual ones the one-timer tutor can tell his pupil 

Having had the luck to sojourn in Droopy's country, 
the narrator has acquired the guide's gift for "spontaneity." 

Following in the African's steps has led to health; the 

the limitations of the guide, the narrator must be able 
to advance into the future. This he will accomplish by 
developing the ability to "know." This next stage in his 
growth demands a different kind of mind than heretofore 
encountered and requires a different guide — H'Cola. So, 
having survived the chasm of the Rift Valley, the chasm 
of Part II, the narrator readies himself to crouch in 
the blind, about to be born into the lessons of the road. 


S'K Sk£-„SF> '"'“ 

* - 



first scene of Green H ills of Africa , another figure also 
crouches with him in the roadside blind. That figure, the 
guide M'Cola, has come to the fore in the pivotal shift of 
perspective from the sensory to the intellectual in the 
flashback of Part XI. This shift is signaled by the chang- 
ing prominence of the native guides: when the more elemental 
Droopy leads the safari to the border of his country and can 
then go no farther, the more knowledgeable M'Cola emerges as 

the dominant African. M'Cola's importance is indicated by 
the position of prominence he holds at the narrator's side, 
first in the roadside blind and then when the narrative 

in emphasis, and the consequent rise of M'Cola, bears direct- 
ly upon the American hunters on the safari. As previously 
discussed, the blind the narrator and M'Cola occupy in Part 
I and the one Karl shoots from in part II function as arche- 
typal womb/tombs. Karl's hunt should rightfully climax his 
search for kudu, but instead the blind that cradles him 
labors and brings forth only the freak kudu head. The 


revolvinc . 

other hand, partakes 

Manyara along 

that emerges in the figure of this guide presents an alter- 
native to the alienation rampant in Karl. 

The progression from sensory development at the hands 
of Droopy to mental development under the auspices of M'Cola 

The ages of the respective guides correspond to the seguenc 
of the stages; the narrator learns the lessons of the body 
from the younger Droopy, the lessons of the mind from the 
older M'Cola. Their individual chronologies parallel the 
panoramic chronology of the road image; Droopy walks the 
length of his country barefoot, while M'Cola, more versed 
in artifacts, goes shod. The narrator's maturation is also 

blind, the narrator is taught by Droopy, gifted with dis- 
cerning, but earthbound, eyes. Droopy's successor, M'Cola, 

world outside the blind, he is born with M'Cola at his side, 
the direct beneficiary of that guide's special vision. 

M'Cola' s unique appearance bears out his role as a 
model of the mind. In the descriptive passages that 

or wither, other guides come and go. Through Droopy's 
country, in the Rift Valley, and all along the road, the 
life of Africa plays out before his all-encompassing gaze. 

M' Cola's premier response to this panorama appears 
first in the blind when an accompanying native scrawls his 

without a shadow of expression on his face." This reaction 
of expressionlessness is the one detail in addition to the 

s crucial to an understanding of 
this mind. The face with which M'Cola beholds the world 
expressionless — without ego. The native lives no life ou 
side the safari. In the only reference to an existence o 
his own. Pop remarks that M'Cola has "a grown-up family i 

the native reserve." The white hunter's choice of words 
discloses the situation concisely: M'Cola has placed his 
emotions as he has his family — in reserve. Unfettered by 

The vanity of the lesser guide, whose scrawling could prove 
deleterious to the hunting party's shooting, leaves M'Cola 
decidedly unmoved. This guide brings to the safari a view- 
point unobscured by personal emotions or preconceived 
reactions. Rather, he comes almost as a tabula rasa, open 
to whatever impressions the world might momentarily etch 
upon him. The bald, bewhiskered buddha exhibits a counts- 

l¥llllfli r 

"delight." The word twice characterizes his response to 
the narrator's battle with the birds, once in this passage 
(p. 36) and again during the bird hunt at Lake Manyara 
(p. 133) . The nature of the laughter that shakes the black 
head confirms his disinterest. M'Cola laughs simultaneous- 
ly "at B’wana" and “at the little birds." The "piece" 
therefore boasts no heroes and no villains, only partici- 
pants, and all potential sources of delight. In faat, the 
only theatrical role designated is that of “clown." The 
narrator's antics at Lake Manyara earn him this part; when 
he executes a pratfall into the lake in the manner of low 
comedy, "M'Cola lis] delighted with this spill." 

the bird passages place M' Cola's role as observer within 
the highly structured context of the theater. In that con- 
text the world exists as spectacle and M'Cola as an extreme- 
ly able audience. Important ramifications follow from the 
attitude the guide displays toward that spectacle, in his 
vision entrances ami exits interweave in a shifting, but 
compensatory, whole. Hence death is no tragedy. The birds 
may tumble down or they may fly away; the play goes on. 
M'Cola in no sense inhabits a tragic world. The sense of 

into the vision of this guide. Tears do not mar the black 
face. Instead, the "piece" M'Cola observes would be classi- 
fied a comedy. This genre inherently promotes M'cola’s 


to Karl's dour pessimism. 

First, the broad humor of low comedy is no respecter of 
persons; the genre does not lend itself as a vehicle for 
the preservation of a public ego. Karl, rigid with anxiety, 
hardly exhibits the resilience necessary to a clown. Sec- 
ondly, the physicality of the form insures contact with the 
earth. Instead of the self-cannibalism of a mind revolving, 
here the mind is turned outward, constantly attuned to its 
surroundings. In order to comprehend the fullness of 
a' Cola's vision, one may simply broaden the definition of 
comedy from its more specialised classification as a thea- 
trical genre to its larger definition as the optimistic 
element of life in general. In the end, this sweeping 
earthly vista is the spectacle that enthralls M'Cola the 
observer. Forsaking tears, the black head beholds the 
world . . . with blankness at the things of ego, or with that 
shake of approval at the wonder of things as they are. 

M'Cola's Country 

From the very start of its travels in Africa, the even- 
tual and inevitable onslaught of the continent's rainy 

coming, as they moved steadily north, as surely as though 
you watched them on a chart. " The advance of the rains 
spells a countdown for the travelers who must conclude their 
hunting and leave before the storms render the roads to the 

id, for 

brings M' Cola-alone— out from the rain, into shelter. The 
evening the American hunter and the African gunbearer spend 
together within the confines of the makeshift tent climaxes 
the intimacy that has grown between the two men since Droopy' 

panion, the novice is asking the master to come in . Physi- 
cally and intellectually, the effect of the narrator's 
invitation to the tent is to internalize the vision of M'Cola. 

Proof of this internalization comes quickly, Before 
this night, the American hunter has held only one perspec- 
tive on rain: "I had thought of the rain only as something 
that made tracking easy." The worth of the terrestrial 

phenomenon was predicated entirely upon its value to the 
hunter's own immediate purposes. But now, even though that 
same phenomenon hinders the safari's efforts at its most 
crucial time ("it was bitching us"), the narrator is yet 

able to acknowledge "it was a lovely sound." With that ad- 
mission, he has acquired a perspective beyond the self) he 
has incorporated the accepting and, even more importantly, 
the appreciative viewpoint of M'Cola. As it falls before 
the wise visage of the black buddha, rain is neither good 
r.or bad, it simply is: and its very participation in the 
spectacle of the world confers a fineness and a loveliness 

A small detail of the tent scene confirms the complete- 
ness of the internalization, when the narrator 

to— through the viscera of the reedbuck, the labyrinth of 
the canyon— is the body of the world, the absolute physi- 
cality of Africa. Droopy's body lives at one with the 
world's body; and the narrator recognizes and emulates this 

so far. Equating "self with his surroundings. Droopy is 
absorbed by the world; he knows no bounds but physical ones. 
This guide lives entirely unaware of his own limitations as 
a human being until brought up short by the edge of the 
Rift Valley, by the material presence of a rock wall I In 
the end Droopy proves an indispensable, but circumscribed, 
proponent of the narrator's growth. He experiences no 

ceeding guide does, above all else, know. M' Cola’s ability 
to mentally distinguish "self” from "other" 

country: the deluge. The younger guide may ; 
canyon, but the life-threatening rains insur 
guide's preeminent awareness of difference, 
of difference, this ability to discern "self" from "ot 
most characterizes the guide, it manifests itself mos 
strikingly in the attitude M'Cola takes as spectator, 

Unlike the oblivious Droopy, M'Cola's vision embraces 
both capacities and limitations, and rejects neither. The 
acceptance he exercises while witnessing the safari's wan- 
derings extends to himself; M'Cola knows his own gifts and 
failures. At the start of the rhinoceros hunt in Chapter 

Three, the narrator notes: "M'Cola was 
Droopy. He simply knew that Droopy wa: 
hunter, a faster and cleaner tracker." 
the potential of self-knowledge to the 
presence provides an antidote to the 
petitiveness since he has witnessed 
humiliating mistakes: 

M'Cola also imparts 

I sat there, using the sling, and shot 
for (the Grant's] neck, slowly and 
carefully, missing him eight times 
straight in a mounting, stubborn rage, 
not making a correction but shooting 
for the same place in the same way 
each time. ... I reached up my hand 
to M'Cola for more cartridges, shot 
again, carefully, and missed, and on 

I turned away without looking toward 
him. (p. 82 ) 

It is the knowledge of one's own finite capabilities that 
provides a hedge against the ego that devours Karl. 

It is precisely the shortcomings of M'Cola that signal 
a more mature and healthy phase in the narrator's growth. 
The influence of the figure of the African guide upon the 
safari lessens in importance as the American hunter learns 
to function more competently on his own. The narrator 

intellectual phase, M'Cola, than he ever did of the sensory 
Droopy, This independence — a realization on the narrator's 
part of the widening separation between his emerging "self" 

is brought home in several ways. The narrator differs more 
distinctly from M'Cola, in age and physique, for example, 
whereas he was likened more to Droopy. And he is much more 
able to criticize the elder native. Unlike Droopy, M'Cola 
possesses foibles as well as wisdom. He commits major 
errors out on the hunt, the gravest when he fails to prevent 
P.O.M. from venturing into high grasses that might shield 
a wounded buffalo (p. 116) . But even this error in the 
field pales against the repercussions that stem from one 
particular oversight the guide makes in camp. 

The narrator's hunting party wake from the night in the 
tent to the morning of the third, penultimate, day of their 
enterprise. They return to camp and attempt another stalk 
through the moist environs, but meet with no success: 

Finally it was dark and we went back 
to camp. The Springfield was very 
wet when we got out "of the car and I 
told M'Cola to clean it carefully and 
(pp. 189-90) * W ° U 

Chapter Eleven, the concluding chapter of part III, then 
chronicles the fourth and last planned day of the safari, 
each of its precious minutes ticked off by the encroaching 
rains. The hunting party make their first effort from a 

of their friendship as well. 

A lapse in duty, then, discloses the limits of M'Cola's 
sufficiency. The nature of the guide's error emanates not 
from commission, but omission . This pattern of lack at 
certain crucial points in the safari has characterised the 
succession of guides: Droopy senses, but does not know: 

e guide's mistake, finds t 

i entire enterprise stalled 

expedition to this 
guide, just looking at 
i the native's strengths 

M' Cola's vision has brought 
impasse, with the narrator, like 

of acceptance and appreciation lie in hi 
his faults. M'Cola remains essentially 

tal in his downfall illuminates the workings of this guide. 
In Droopy's country the gun served to validate M'Cola's com 
petence as guide; in the country of rain it invalidates his 
competency for the next phase of the narrator's journey. X 
addition, M'Cola is only the bearer of the gun, not the dis- 
charger of its explosive power. The bearer may look with 
delight upon the spectacle of S'wana and the birds, but he 
himself makes neither life nor death happen. M'Cola never 
kills during the safari; neither does he provide food, in 
the end, M'Cola laughs at, not with, the world. The values 
of this guide are those of a superb contemplator and he 
generously passes on to a willing recipient the values of 
a mind wide-ranging in its considerations, none more recep- 
tive in its outlook. But his limits lie in those same 
of contemplation itself. 


s intellect a. 

le will suffice only s 
i eleven chapters of G: 

the westward wanderer/wonderer has integrated Droopy's 
grasp of the sensory with M'cola’s model of the mind. 
Equipped now with body and mind, the narrator/artist leaves 
behind the road of M'Cola for the third and most challeng- 
ing phase of his personal journey — the virgin land, the 
country of the imagination. 


The Form in the Landscape 

The advent of the rainy season entails a time of great 
transition for the land of Africa, from the smallest guinea 
to the largest elephant. The present of the narrative is 
lived on the crest of a mounting wave of change, which 

depicted in these pivotal four days between the dry and 
rainy seasons, the world the narrator lives in is charac- 
terized above all by flux. The physical reaction of the 
earth to the inundating waters indicates the nature of such 
change. One immediate consequence is, of course, the rust 

flooded saltlick. Both chemical decomposition and struc- 
tural damage bear witness to the destructive facet of the 
process of change. But while the rain causes decay in the 
present, it simultaneously prepares the continent for future 
renewal. These seasonal rains supply the forward-looking 
factor in the landscape of Green Bills of Africa ; their 
waters insure for the coming year the very greenness of the 
hills. As evidenced in these multiple, co-existent perspec- 
tives, rain as the agent of change brings 1 
and generation to the continent of Africa. 

Nowhere is 
more concisely t 
last afternoon o 

e pervasiveness of tt 
the safari, natives h 

6 change reflected 

tor's camp bearing electrifying new 
■They have found a country where th 
At this sudden release from what hat 
enterprise, the narrator catapults t 
Chapter Eleven ("'J've hunted them 1 
enjoyed it and 1 haven't worried up 
motion of chapter Twelve as he heads 
country with the natives. But the archetypal landscape 

an thought a doom 
)f the doldrums a 

the effect o 
blind have bt 

e narrator moves through that landscape in the 

lat change; the guide, the road, and the 
either destroyed or transformed. 

Highly significant is the change effected in the human 
component, the guide M'Cola. The figure of the African 
guide looms less large as the safari nears its end, declining 
from the heroic Droopy to the more fallible M'Cola. By the 
time of Part iv, when the narrator abandons the road and the 
blind, M'Cola has become only one among a handful of less 
commanding figures. The current status of his participation 
s growth shows itself in the guide's reac- 
nt for which they've all waited, when the 

narrator and his party strike out for the kudu and i 
gin land in the first scene of Chapter Twelve. Froc 
front seat the narrator "looked around at the back c 

The Sleeping guide has fulfilled the potential 
dent within him from his first appearance in 

displays the "thin Chinese hairs at the corners of his 
mouth," his exterior is always cast in Oriental terms. The 
ethnic imagery, reinforced by his geographical duties as 
guide, serves as a constant visual reminder that above all 
this guide helps to orient the narrator within the world 
When in Part III the American pupil internalizes the accept- 
ing, appreciative viewpoint held toward the world by his 
African mentor, he is then provided with the means to relate 
to that world. The vision of the Oriental African furnishes 
an internal gyroscope for his pupil, permitting sure move- 
ment in a world increasingly fluid. The need for such 
ability becomes paramount when the hunting party separates 
from the rest of the safari and deserts the road, directing 
their car toward parts unknown. As the party ventures out, 
M'cola takes a backseat and closes his eyes in sleep, in 
the blind and along the road, the black countenance has 
always acknowledged and valued the world passing before it, 
but now it closes itself to the world, its faculties in 
suspension. The new land M'cola travels generates demands 

beyond the elder guide's capabilities. Therefore, having 
equipped his pupil with a working legacy, M'Cola releases 
him to the vision of the Wanderobo seated in the front 
seat . . . and lapses into sleep. The narrator, a more 
capable agent of life, must answer the demands of the vir- 

The placement of the hunting company in the car reveals 
the shifting emphasis in the narrator as he begins to track 
the kudu. M'Cola has previously commanded the strategic 
position by the narrator's side, first in the roadside blind 

s brought r 

The native, a Wanderobo tribesman, flanks the narra- 
tor in the front seat. It is important to the development 
of the narrator, however, that one authority figure not 
merely replace another. Consequently, because neither his 
personal name nor a nickname is ever given in Part IV, the 
Wanderobo functions less as a personality and more as the 
qualities the name of his tribe suggests; when the narrator 
ventures into the virgin country, into the unknown, the 
qualities of the wanderer/wonderer come to the fore. This 
transposition of a Wanderobo for M'Cola indicates the active 
realignment going on in the narrator. An intellectual 
observer, M'Cola lives apart from the life observed. As 
the narrator grows into his full potential as an artist — 
incorporating Droopy's sensory health and M' Cola's mental 

:st reach beyond the latter's innate passiv- 
n imaginative participant in the creation 
s emphasis on participation finds its repre- 
Wanderobo. Unlike M'Cola, whose unblink- 
ing vision comprehends an eternal present of counter-balan- 
cing beginnings and endings, the new native — like the rains 
in Part III— turns to the future. He has seen the kudu and 
sable, the magnetic quarries that draw the narrator on. 

His forward-directed vision leads the hunters into Part IV. 

The thrust of this vision becomes evident upon examina- 
tion of the role of the Kanderobo as a group throughout the 

had built of twigs and brai 
the narrator's predecessor 
builder of forms 
first artificer mentioned 
sent all the people on the 
who carry arrows and speai 
These implements mark the 
their wanderings set these 

t initiates t 

— the Wanderobo function 
3 journey of the road, t; 
111 inhabits. He is the 

environment. The san 
moved the travellers 
anonymous Wanderobo hunters 

e exhibits ti» 

:he road, the westward travellers 

sse people to wondering; the artifacts 
' invention to the challenge of the 
irge to manipulate one's world that 
shape weapons and containers, the 

a values of mobility 

provoked another 


realize in twigs and branches the form in the landscape. 

Just as M 1 Cola , the human component in the landscape, 
undergoes change, so do the manmade forms. Green Hills 
begins with the narrator crouching by a structure that 
winds its way through the geography of eleven chapters — 
the road. But the downpour of Part III renders that road 
impassable, and in the first scene of Part IV this trace 

of man's presence quickly dissipates. The narrator's car 
launches out on a "road that was only a track,” "only a 
cattle track." The hunters then pursue "a faint trail the Wan- 
derobo pointed out” until "there was no track, only the 
general direction to follow." Soon, having broken free of 
the road and all outside points of reference, the party 
rely instead on inner references, "driving with intelligence 
and a sound feeling for the country .' 1 As a form the road 

from the past of the road into the future of the unknown. 
The road disappears from the landscape of Chapter Twelve 

undant supplies of ' 

narrator, following in the footsteps of the Wanderobos, is 

this construction never permits capture of the greater 
kudu for which he searches, and in the rain of Part III, 
both the saltlick and the nearby blind are washed away. 

The thus outmoded form is altogether absent from the open- 
ing of Part IV. However, its function does not vanish from 
the landscape; the blind metamorphoses into the makeshift 

Throughout the African countryside, green tents have 
dotted the path of the safari. For nine chapters the narra- 
tor has lived in enclosures that are both structured (house- 
like, with flaps for doors) and communal (such as the dining 
tent, the most frequently mentioned tent, and others large 
enough to accommodate couples) . But a change transpires 
after the destruction of the blind by the rain. The tent 

predecessors. First of all, it is improvised from its very 
inception, beginning as a canvas ground cloth packed in the 
narrator's car along with other supplies (p. 32 ). And 
secondly, it is uniquely suited to the individuals when the 
narrator is stranded on the road, the tent provides ideal 
housing for this transient with its immediate resoonse to 
the environment ("My ground sheet tent was slung between a 
tree and one side of the chicken coop" ) . This adaptibiiity 
qualifies it for the exigencies of the kudu hunt, which is 

scape of Green Hills of Africa. The plural attributes of 
its most refined version, the ground sheet tent, qualify 

[this book] , 

introduce the subject 


an unusual concern with that subject on the part of the 
a love story. The "love interest" of the narrator is 

revealed straight away in Chapter One; he and his friends 
are sitting in the blind at the side of the road because 
they have seen “long, heart-shaped, fresh tracks of four 
greater kudu bulls that had been on the salt the night 
before." Beginning with this first sign and continuing 
throughout the narrative, the kudu is always described in 

propitious day: when one examines the timing of the February 
journey, one discovers that Green Bills begins on Valentine's 
Day. But the employment of heart imagery ranges beyond 
the sentimentality of the valentine to embrace the heart 
and circulatory system in a subtle actualization of the pro- 
cesses of life itself. The narrator tracks the elusive 

not until then does a greater kudu bull appear before him. 
Thus the "love interest" first raised in the Foreward has to 

the rains which promise the future fertility of the hills 
and the Wanderobo whose vision leads the hunting party to 
the virgin land, the narrator's "love interest" provides a 

prolific this g 
finally see a k 

een deer park! Not only 
du after nearly exhaust- 
prize specimen and there 
in addition to the unex- 

pected new space of the unhunted land, tf 
begins to replicate. 

The most extraordinary moment of the 
looks straight back over 
ty; as M'Cola explains, th 
the wounded first bull, t 
longer follows {p. 223) . 
he turns etches itself in 

stands pristinely alone i: 

the hunting pa 
having run wit 

mai presents a. 

is shoulder at 
ms to discover 

encounter to which th 

surreptitious as with the watt 
briefly in its forward plunge 
creatures behold each other in 

with the reedbuck o: 

tal exchange. 

The narrator's preference for 
"love interest" over trophies more 

greater kudu as his 

traditionally associated 

with African safaris discloses his concern with private, 
not public, values. The structure of Green Hills of Africa 
mirrors this emphasis by relating only one of the obliga- 
tory big game kills. The relegation of the confrontation 
between the narrator and the lion to Chapter Two (pp. 40-41 

practically ignores the bigger game, three lion and two 
leopard being the only c. 

themselves. Rather, the expedition centers more upon her- 
bivores, not even African exotica like elephants (of whom 
we see only tracks and dung) but mostly antelope — rcan, 
reedbuck, water buck, oryx, impala, eland, bushbuck. Grant's 
gazelle, kudu and sable. Indeed, as Pop says of the narra- 
tor's love interest, "(kudu are] the commonest big antelope 
in this bush country. It's just that when you want to see 
them you don't." Given the availability of the quarry, the 

scarcity, but in their fulfillment of an inner need in the 
narrator, in an inward response they alone evoke in him. 

The sign of the heart leads here, to the clearing in 

shaped path. Having gotten o 


'in a clearing." 

clearing a hundred yards ahead, 
that the place of this crucial 

A gerund, "clearing" indicates not only a place that has 
been cleared but also an act that clears, it is this ver 
bal attribute of the word that carries the kudu hunt pas- 
sage. The hunter's first shot, for example, depends 
entirely upon his expertise in "clearing:" "[I] commenced 
to crawl forward to be clear of the bush, sick afraid the 
bull would jump.” As the narrator/hunter successfully 
clears his vision, so the narrator/artist clears his. His 
ye catches the bull in a clearing, free of interference 

It rs as if that narrative eye blinks to wash the scene of 
all extraneous matter and opens, virgin, upon its long- 
awaited object of desire. 

in that one moment, "looking back, ... his horns a 
marvel, . . . [the kudu) looked straight toward us over hi; 
shoulder. This direct, vibrant exchange between hunted 
and hunter, image and artist, culminates in a far-reaching 
vision of life. The narrator discovers the bull in motion! 
in the momentary turn of its flight, and in the more endur- 
ing turnings of its life as captured in its spiralling 
horns. Such turns, caught in the spirals, reveal much. 

e layered excrescences of life. Unlike antlers w 
St yearly, horns are lifetime tracings of the gro' 

o£ their formative organism. They acquire their shape from 
constant contact with a vital center, the keratin benefici- 
aries of the pith that wells up from within. In addition 
to the origins, the multitudinous shapes of the horns also 
provide insight, the kudu horns in particular. The helical 
growths incorporate a distinctive element of thrust in 
their design; they grow not aimlessly, nor circle repeti- 
tively, but evolve . This evolution in their physical con- 
figuration also governs the appearance of the horns in the 
timespan of the narrative. The sequence in which certain 
horns are pursued at certain times in the narrative reveals 
a pattern; beginning with the simple hook of the rhinoceros, 
through the more intricate variations of the intervening 
water buffalo and lesser antelope, to the complex spiral 
of the kudu, the narrator pursues increasingly more developed 
horns at the same time he is adding new dimensions to his 
own experience, in the clearing when he finally sees before 
him the spiral in its full complement, it is because he has 
laid a proper foundation for it and can now be suitablv 
receptive. This correlation between the hunting trophies 
and the narrator's existence is strengthened when he 

orns prove particularly apt with their distin- 
hrust; the comparative degree of "a better time 





tor/ hunter's hunger, the horns of the kudu furnish aesthet 
ic nourishment for the narrator/artist. This revitali- 
zing property of the horns is stressed by their depiction 
as a visual feast; their colors are cast in terms of food 
imagery, "brown as walnut meats” and "the color of black 
walnut meats." Rather than satiation, the festival of the 
kudu invigorates 

all in sleep that night. 

The narrator's quest for kudu ends with darkness, as 
the hunters feed upon the takings of the day. The festival 
of the kudu brings to a close the fourth day of the present 
time of the narrative, the day designated in the first few 

Sut this original time limit of four days suddenly gives 
way in Part IV. The bounds of the narrator's world have 
already expanded to include the new space of the virgin 
land; now they yield for an additional day, a new animal, 
and a bonus chapter. It is highly significant that the 
capture of the long-sought kudu does not climax the narra- 
tor's hunt. Such an unexpected turn in the timing of the 
story demands attention. The words that herald the discov- 
ery of the kudu's home provide a clue to this aberration; 

as Pop translates for the Wanderobo, “They have found a 
country where there are kudu and sable." Thus from the 

first the virgin land is identified as the home of the sable 

vision, and borne out in the subsequent realization of that 
vision, is this coupling of the helix-bearing kudu with the 
other antelope. Neither species is even glimpsed by the 
narrator outside the virgin land, while within its grounds 
both flourish. The equal emphasis upon each one of the 
antelope determines t 


ising Part IV, Chapter Twelve 
e afternoon of the fourth day. 

s established tl 

e parallels his 

initial meeting with the kudu: "I saw the dark, heavy-built 
antelope with scimitar-like horns swung back staring at us. “ 
In the directness of the moment two features stand out that 
are unique to the dark antelope — its color and its horns. 

The striking blackness of the sable, the only antelope in 
Green Hills with this hue, immediately calls up connotations 
of death. The animal's very name is synonymous with black. 

and phrases such as "dead black" and "black as hell" in the 
narrator's description reinforce funereal 

associations . 

addition to the color of the sable , its horns also confirm 

nearly touching the middle of [the sable's! bach" duplicate 
the dark coloring of the coat. More profoundly, the func- 
tion of the horns in the survival of the animal is recalled 
when the adjective "scimitar-like” compares their arc to a 
weapon. Dyed in the signature of mourning and armed with a 

The thematic and structural ascendancy of the dark 
antelope brings into prominence a concern central to the 

guides provides a key insight along these lines in Chapter 

said, making the word for dead almost explosive in its 
force. " This remarkable pronouncement carries implications 

the narrator's story. Death in Green H. 
as indicated by the verbal expression M 

s destruction ti 

f experience as preservation o: 

is most completely worked o< 

day scimitar, the gun, the artifact which delivers this 

demanding question: 


jn's explosive power is reserved ti 

The American has shot well throughout the safari, b 
ginning with the reedbuck and rhino and culminating with 
the kudu. Within the deerpark so green that it verges o 

n the fifth day o. 

ss evaporates. The kud 
n the clearing within t 
e virgin land. But the 

has appeared before the 
i minutes of his making c 

forcing the hunting party to scramble through nearby hills. 
Worst of all is the shooting. The first female animal in 
the entire safari is mistakenly killed, and the much-prised 
sable bull is not killed but terribly wounded. The resultant 

1 culminates i 

the wounded sable. 

The unattainable 

central lesson of Gree 

a peak of physical punish- 
e narrator; once lost. 

e bull, resplendent in dusky coat 
who follows its tortuous path a 
11s. When one accepts mortality, 

eschews any promise of an afterlife; one cannot kill 
th. The narrator rejects such an escape in favor of 
ng a part of the present creation — and participation i: 
t creation entails mortality, limits, faults. After tl 

IP „ „ 


kudu, gifts of the virgin land, their reaching and curving 
"beautiful to see. * But to this element of the image the 

the artifact that made possible their capture. In this 
juxtaposition of herns and gun lies the narrator's solution. 
In one sense the weapon, the death-dealing rifle, stands 
in place of the other, unattainable trophy and weapon, the 
sable's scimitar hom. But in a more subtle and thorough- 
going sense those sable horns are vividly present in the 
hutside composition after all. Their distinctive dark color 
makes up the base of the spiralling kudu columns, and their 
geometric configuration of the arc comprises half a helical 
evolution. Thus by color and by shape the kudu horn incor- 
porates the sable into itself. 

to see that life does not reject death or separate itself 
from it; rather, just as the longer kudu horns encompass the 
shorter gun in their upward progress, so life incorporates 
death and goes on. Nowhere is this integration more complete 

"Springfield" captures the vital interplay between death 

ment of the value of the horn. From the very first night 
of the safari a major source of ivory, the African elephant, 
has crossed the expedition's trail, dotting the landscape 
with its leavings (pp. 10, 249-501 . But the elusive mam- 
moth never shows itself, a rather unusual feat. This well- 
defined absence of elephants from the safari sheds light 
upon the values operative in Green Bills . In the beginning 
of the narrative when the American hunter tells Kandisky 
that he is in Africa "shooting," the European admonishes, 

"Not ivory, I hope." "No. For kudu," the narrator replies. 

he would "kill a big enough [elephant] .... A seventy 
pounder. Maybe smaller." This spell of braggadocio proves 
prophetic, for in the end the narrator does indeed shoot 
for ivory— but not for that of the elephant. The acclaim of 
the big game trophy and the monetary worth of the tusks may 
well luxe other hunters on other safaris, but on the narrator' 

inc., 1965.